Leaders across the globe are beginning to realize that the biggest thing stopping us from taking action on climate change isn't a lack of capacity or technical solutions. It's a lack of engagement. Of historical and cultural context. Of connection to people and place. No one wants to have climate action done to them. They want to play a role in creating solutions. They need to see themselves, their homes, their businesses and their families reflected in goals and strategies.
Of course, the best (and possibly only) way to create that kind of engagement is with stories. That's why I'm so excited to have Jeff Biggers, founder of the Climate Narrative Project, join me for this episode.
Jeff draws on decades of experience as a journalist, oral historian and author to help communities shape new narratives on climate change and regenerative solutions. As a global leader in climate change communications, he's worked with groups ranging from the elite of Silicon Valley to small towns devastated by broken economic and social systems. His narrative change work has been featured in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune - as well as on NPR and MSNBC.
In our conversation, Jeff shares some beautiful and powerful stories about how he works with leaders and communities to help them create a vision of an "ecopolis" where they'd like to live in the future – then reverse engineer or backcast it to figure out what stories they need to bring to life to make it happen.
Here are a couple of articles about his ecopolis work: https://artistsandclimatechange.com/2018/12/06/shaping-new-climate-narratives-why-a-journalist-historian-turned-to-theatre-for-climate-stories/
Jeff also shares critical insights about what's stopping municipalities and communities from being able to move ahead on climate action and offers tangible ideas about what we can do right now to get unstuck. (Hint - it's to hire a climate storyteller!)
Jeff's approach works across cultures, continents and communities, and generates co-benefits that go well beyond mitigation and adaptation. You can find more stories about his work and outcomes here.
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